Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offence Court on Tuesday directed that a pastor, Erinmole Adetokunbo, alongside his accomplice, Adedoyin Oyekanmi, should go and die by hanging.
The judge decided, after the cleric and his accomplice were found guilty of beheading a 7-year-old boy in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, upon changing their plea from not guilty to being guilty.
The convicts were arraigned on October 30, 2017, before the High Court of Lagos State on a two-count charge bordering on murder.
In the criminal charge before Justice Taiwo, Pastor Adetokunbo and Oyekanmi, on June 7, 2017, at number 6, Oke Oniburokun Street, Odokekere, Ikorodu, conspired to murder the victim, one Kazeem Rafiu.
The duo were specifically accused of beheading Rafiu and the head buried around the church’s altar, while the body was kept in a canal.
The clergyman was later arrested by residents and had confessed to the crime, even as he named Oyekanmi as his accomplice.
Pastor Adetokunbo alongside his accomplice consequently led a team of policemen to the church, where the victim’s remains were recovered.
However, four years after being remanded in prison custody, the Lagos State government re-arraigned the convicts before the Special Offences Court on September 21, 2021, and the trial commenced.
When the trial resumed before the court, Justice Taiwo was hinted by the prosecutor, Mrs O. A. Bajulaiye and defence counsel, Ms Anthonia Otsokwa that the convicts have decided to change their plea.
The development made the judge issue a directive that their plea is taken, leading to the same being read to them in Yoruba language.
Immediately after the charge was read to the convicts, they pleaded guilty to the two-count charge.
And so, in reviewing the facts of the case, Bajulaiye urged the court to convict them accordingly.
But in her allocutus, Otsokwa, asked for mercy on the reason that the pastor and his accomplice have realised their offence and are remorseful for the loss of the young child.
Delivering judgment, Justice Taiwo, while noting that the case is a very pathetic one as the defendants conspired and killed a young child by cutting off his head for ritual purposes stated, “These defendants have committed a heinous crime and deserve no mercy. They have cruelly and intentionally killed a 7-year-old boy, depriving him and his family of a bright destiny.
“Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State had imposed the death penalty for premeditated murder, and I have no hesitation in imposing the said punishment.
“I hereby sentence Adedoyin Oyekanmi and Erinmole Adetokunbo to death for killing Kazeem Rafiu. May God have mercy on your souls.”
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